Report Shows Relationship Between Child Neglect, Poverty, and Struggling Caregivers

An issue brief published by the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire, “Hard Times Made Harder: Struggling Caregivers and Child Neglect,” found that children whose caregivers struggle with drug abuse, mental health problems, alcohol abuse, or struggle to pay for basic necessities were more likely to be placed in out-of-home care.

The brief showed that neglected children from households with caregivers who struggle with drug abuse were three times more likely to be placed in out-of-home care and children who lived with caregivers struggling with alcohol problems, mental health problems, and paying for basic necessities were twice as likely.

In 2008, approximately 267,000 children were removed from their homes as a result of a child maltreatment investigation, and 69% of those children experienced neglect. The brief’s author concludes that “intervention and prevention must not only integrate substance abuse and mental health services but also address the needs and effects of long-term poverty such as apathy, loss of hope, and indifference.”

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